Fatigue can impact our overall job performance and safety, and there is a certain demographic of Pennsylvania workers who are regularly affected by fatigue, including:
- Night shift workers
- Rotating shift workers
- Those who drive for long periods of time
- Workers who have small children
- Workers with sleep disorders, like sleep apnea
Anyone can be at risk of a workplace accident due to fatigue, however — particularly adults who habitually don't get enough sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about a third of adults in the United States don't get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This doubles workers' chances of being involved in an accident on the job. Here's why.
Sleep deprivation is similar to alcohol-impairment
According to a video by CMS Safety, sleep deprivation can result in a 20-50 percent reduction in:
- Reaction time
- Memory and focus
The video cites an Australian study that measured how workers performed when they didn't get enough sleep, in contrast with workers who had consumed alcohol. The study found that workers who reached 17-19 hours without sleep performed to the same standard as alcohol-impaired workers with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05 percent.
Workers who reached more than 19 hours without sleep began to exhibit the same level of impairment as someone with a BAC level of 0.10 percent.
Who is the most at risk of workplace fatigue?
An article in Safety + Health Magazine cites data from the CDC's 2012 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which identifies which types of workers are most affected by fatigue. These include:
- Workers in the manufacturing industry — 34.1%
- All night shift workers — 44%
- Night shift workers in health care and social assistance — 52.3%
- Night shift workers in transportation and warehousing — 69.7%
What can be done to mitigate the risk?
Workplace fatigue is a common problem that should be addressed by employers. The Safety + Health Magazine article discussed ways employers can get involved in mitigating the risk of workplace accidents, including:
- Establishing policies, practices, and programs aimed at reducing workplace fatigue
- Offering safety education to employees and promoting healthy sleeping habits
- Screening employees for sleep disorders and offering treatment
- Reducing overtime
- Offering adequate breaks
- Reducing demanding tasks for night shift workers
- Giving night shift workers reasonable time off between shifts
If you were hurt on the job due to a fatigue-related accident, it's important that you report your injury to your employer and get medical attention as soon as possible. During your recovery, you're likely eligible for workers' compensation benefits to help you make ends meet.
To make the process easier and maximize your chances of receiving benefits, it's best to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney. The attorneys at O'Malley & Langan Law Offices know how to negotiate for a fair settlement and get results.
Contact us online today and set up your free case evaluation.